Ray Doyle from ICOS explains how farmers can continue to use the marts to sell cattle during the current crisis.
What is the current situation with the marts?
Marts have not re-opened as they were - there is to be no unregulated access to marts, and public auctions are not taking place. They are simply facilitating the livestock trade as best they can, utilising existing mart infrastructure and, where applicable, handling the payments.
Who do I contact?
Farmers wishing to purchase or sell cattle or sheep should first contact their local mart manager with the relevant details such as breed, age, approximate weight and movement.
What if I have a buyer for my livestock already?
One version of this new trading mechanism is simply that farmers wishing to sell livestock will arrange privately with farmer buyer. They engage the local mart in providing the accurate weighbridge and animal movement recording process. Payment is agreed and taken care of by the farmers themselves.
Can the mart arrange buyers for me?
Other marts or farmers may want the mart to be more involved in the transaction, inviting in a range of buyers to view livestock after they have been delivered into the mart centre. Offers are then made to selling farmers and they can decline or accept. If accepted, the mart will process the payments as usual.
What is the process I have to follow?
The following steps are the core of all new mart trading arrangements during the Covid-19 restrictions:
* Selling farmers contact the mart manager with animal details; the manager gives indicative potential prices per category;
* Mart manager contacts potential buyers for various animal categories;
* Selling farmer alloted date and time to deliver animals to mart;
* Only mart staff unload/load animals and they are weighed in the mart weighbridge; seller views weights in a dedicated, isolated area;
* Buyer views animals in a dedicated and isolated area;
* Buyer offers price per kilo and seller accepts or rejects the offer via the mart manager;
* Animals' movement details are processed through the mart Animal Identification and Movement connection with DAFM systems;
* Seller paid via mart or direct from purchaser depending on mart's decision and leaves the premises;
* Animals loaded via mart staff onto buyer's transport;
* Buyer pays mart if applicable via non-cash methods, ie card or electronic transfer.
Ray Doyle works for the ICOS Livestock & Environmental Services Executive